Lady Codebreaker

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Pub Date Mar 12 2024 | Archive Date May 04 2024


Fans of Kate Quinn and Kristina McMorris will love this gripping historical novel based on the true story of the woman who used her codebreaking skills to bring down Prohibition gangsters and WWII Nazis, and who ultimately helped found the present-day NSA.

Grace Smith has never been one to conform to society’s expectations. She flees small-town Indiana to seek adventure—and finds more than she bargained for when she’s hired by an eccentric millionaire to learn codebreaking. Soon she’s using those skills to help head the government’s fledgling cryptanalysis unit.

During Prohibition, Grace takes up the fight against rumrunners—not to mention Al Capone himself. And as the country careens from one Great War to another, it’s Grace who must crack the secrets of foreign governments, catch spies, and derail saboteurs . . . before it’s too late.

With wry wit and sheer grit, she forges her own path as a codebreaker, wife, mother. She’s spent a lifetime going up against powerful men and winning. But as war rages and the stakes grow impossibly high, Grace faces a truly impossible choice: her family or her country?
Fans of Kate Quinn and Kristina McMorris will love this gripping historical novel based on the true story of the woman who used her codebreaking skills to bring down Prohibition gangsters and WWII...

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ISBN 9781538723661
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 74 members

Featured Reviews

To me, a great historical fiction novel hits two notes: it is in itself a captivating story, but also it is interesting enough that I want to learn more about the history it references. Lady Codebreaker definitely hit both of those notes, and I find myself obsessed with codes once more, picking up the threads I left after reading Alan Hodges’s book on Alan Turing.

Lady Codebreaker follows the story of Grace and Robert, a married couple who are cryptoanalysts for the US military. The story spans a massive 4 decades, starting from their entry into code breaking and moving into the aftermath of World War 2. Readers get a glimpse of the painstaking process and the import of code breaking from the tail end of WWI through the prohibition and all through WWII.

Through Grace, we experience the position of women and the challenges and heartbreak that went along with simply being female in that time. We get a taste of the strength of female friendships and the bitterness of rivalry. There are so many beautiful quotes in this book that I can’t wait to take a highlighter to once I get a physical copy.

In Robert, we get a heartbreaking look into issues of depression and mental health. This theme is apparent from the very beginning of the prologue, and every time we jump forward into the post-war era, my heart broke a little more for him.

The way Alden weaves the story through the decades, jumping the reader back and forth between war time and post-war time makes the unfolding of events hit so much harder than a purely chronological telling. It also makes the vast timespan encompassed by the plot feel less overwhelming.

This is a wonderful story for any historical fiction lover, woman in STEM, proponent of mental health awareness, and any woman looking for a beautiful yet heartbreaking read. I will absolutely be adding this to my high school math classroom library (the romance is all closed door) as soon as it is released for use in book groups.

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